Colette's Blog

Nutrition IS Medicine

November 25, 2014

It’s time to change the way we think about nutrition. It’s not just about losing weight and looking good for your class reunion or wedding— what you eat on a daily basis has a long-lasting effect on your overall health, well-being and quality and length of life. Nutrition should no longer be thought of as an “alternative” therapy to drug therapy when it comes to disease prevention.

The ultimate issue isn’t which drug is better or worse than others; it’s the continuing failure to recognize that drug therapy is inappropriate for any condition that can be improved with lifestyle and dietary changes. Drug cures continue to be researched right into a corner. The more research we have to validate drug therapy, the least likely a doctor will give you the opportunity to investigate alternative therapies. Unfortunate but true.

We need to be our own caretakers and ask ourselves; are we willing to adhere to a low-carb lifestyle, which research has already demonstrated to lower inflammation markers such as CRP, improve cardiac risk factors, diminish risk for diabetes and heart disease, and, more recently, promising results to prevent cancer?

The goal of excellence in medicine will be achieved through an informed choice from an array of all possible therapies. The controlled-carbohydrate lifestyle has been scientifically proven to improve clinical parameters. Good medicine should offer a patient the best benefit-to-risk ratio, and the benefit of a controlled-carbohydrate diet far outweighs the risks and side effects associated with drugs.

While drugs are certainly appropriate for specific patient populations under certain circumstances, they are not appropriate for those who can accomplish the same results with lifestyle changes.

What we need to do is change how we think about food—it can be considered medicine, and a means of improving your life and prolonging your lifespan, while making you feel better and more energetic. Who doesn’t want that? Throwing out that bag of potato chips and purging your pantry of packaged foods and choosing to focus on whole foods, such as healthy protein and fats, and plenty of fresh vegetables, seems like a far preferable solution than taking one pill after another, and then another pill to alleviate the symptoms that the first pill causes. This is not to say that in many cases, it is important to use more aggressive strategies to cure a disease, but why not start with good nutrition, in this case, a controlled-carbohydrate way of life?

Case in point: A new study to be published shortly in the Expert Review of Endocrinology and Metabolism examines how a low-carb diet can be a therapeutic or preventive measure in cancer treatment. The hypothesis is that there is a close association between cancer and diabetes and obesity. And a low-carb diet has been shown to be effective in both situations. While the conclusion is that there is some validity in this hypothesis, there is definitely more research that needs to be done. But the authors also state that “Putting together the pieces of the puzzle, insulin in cancer, the diabetes-cancer link, caloric restriction and the effects of carbohydrate restriction in metabolic syndrome will provide 5 year of fundamental information about cancer, about its link to diet and about the metabolism of ketone bodies, even if it turns out the therapeutic value is not as high as it seems. Much will be lost if we don’t try.” 

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